Little Alchemy is a unique game that challenges the player's reasoning and processing. In the game, the player starts with the basic elements of fire, water, earth, and air. From here, he or she combines these elements to form newer types of elements. For example, when the user combines water and fire, the resulting element is steam.
Given the first few elements, the user can mentally combine each of the elements to figure out newer elements. When a user is given the elements of earth and water, he or she can utilize bottom-up processing to infer that the result is mud. By synthesizing the elements that the player already has, new element combinations can be inferred.
However, this isn't the only way to consider the game. Another way to find the newer elements is to consider the elements that the game might include. Thus, the player could inductively reason different types of elements that the game might have. If the user wanted to figure out whether the game had elements like clouds or mountains, he or she would then use top-down processing to consider how to develop these elements from the available material or any theoretical transitional elements that might be needed to construct these elements.
Thereafter, the player will try to reach their goal, and once all reasonable combinations that might yield the right product are exhausted, the user can deductively reason that the element hasn't been included into the game.
This game illustrates problem solving strategies. The game challenges the user to create a network of interconnected elements, figure out how to create complex elements, and try to create goals that may be unattainable. Both inductive and deductive reasoning must be applied to find new elements and overcome getting stumped. The player can either figure out new elements from existing elements or start from a highly complex element and move backward to figure out what might be missing. These types of processing and reasoning are used in everything from car repair to population modeling, and this game combines a little fun with a little thought and a little frustration.